Choose your favourite World War I objects from Te Papa Press’s new book Holding on to Home

Holding_on_to_Home_cover_ low-res

One designer, two authors, nine chapters, 28 library, archive and museum collections, and more than 300 illustrations: these are some of the ingredients that have gone into Holding on to Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects for the First World War which was launched by Te Papa Press last night.

When the First World War began, 100 years ago New Zealanders had no inkling of how far it would seep and storm into their lives. Kate Hunter, my co-author, and I have researched the material record of wartime New Zealand to expand our understandings of the war’s meanings for ordinary people – what they touched and what touched them. As a result, the two of us are convinced that the things that have survived from this time bring this distant event back into our hands.

Souvenir card from Cape Town, circa 1916, Cape Town. Maker unknown. Gift of the McCredie family, 2012. Te Papa

Souvenir card from Cape Town, circa 1916, Cape Town. Maker unknown. Gift of the McCredie family, 2012. Te Papa

Because objects and images have shaped the stories we tell, both Kate and I have taken up the challenge of choosing our top five Te Papa objects in the book. We have had plenty to select from – the objects illustrating this blog are just two out of the many that didn’t make it into the book. Above is the postcard that Percy Heenan sent to his fiancé on his way to the Western Front in 1917 and below is the embroidered cushion cover that convalescing soldier William Pauling started but did not finish.

on Embroidered cushion cover, 1916-1919, England. Pauling, William. Gift of Janette Cross in memory of William Wallace Pauling, 2013. Te Papa

Embroidered cushion cover, 1916-1919, England. Pauling, William. Gift of Janette Cross in memory of William Wallace Pauling, 2013. Te Papa

Kate and I will reveal our selection on the newly-launched Te Papa channel this coming Monday 26 August – details to come. Before then, let us know what your top five are. Check out the book (available now from Te Papa Press and book stores) or pore over the 79 images on this Collections Online link and send a comment to this blog. Then on Monday, see whether or not the authors’ selection matches yours!

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Kirstie Ross

    Hi Fiona
    Thanks for your sharing your selection.

    Many if not all soldiers took away with them little portable sewing kits – they were commonly called ‘housewives’ or ‘hussifs’ – to maintain their uniforms while they were away from their womenfolk.

    Kirstie

    Reply
  2. Fiona Morris

    The soldier’s sewing kit. Such a practical thing that I often have trouble finding in my own home! It must have been invaluable.

    Reply

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